Swimming Through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus
Published by Createspace on May 25, 2013
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, young adult
Format & Pages: paperback, 240
Find on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
“I live in the in between. Between what if and what is. It’s how I manage. It’s the only way I know. Everyone has their way. This is mine.”
Senior year kicks off when the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing a world where hope seems to lie around the corner. She never turns.
This just might be my favorite book of the year.
A friend lent this trilogy to me with high recommendations. After reading the description on the back of this book, I still didn’t quite know what to expect, so I just jumped in.
The description lends the idea that Swimming Through Clouds is a fun teen romance. But almost right away, there’s a sense of unease, and I’m wondering, What is Talia’s story? Which, obviously, is the whole point of the book.
Paulus’s writing is stunning. She does an incredible job balancing the sweet slow romance between Talia and Lagan with the horror that is her home life. She made me feel everything from happiness and humor to sorrow, apprehension, and dread. What’s more, I was somehow able to relate to Talia, despite having completely different life experiences than she did.
“Why would anyone attach the word good to bye puzzles me. Angers me. And then saddens me.”
There is a lot that Paulus does not say outright. From an adult perspective, it is easier to read between the lines and understand the implications that Talia cannot as a sheltered young girl. I appreciated the focus on faith through intimation and symbolism. I am also curious about her dad’s backstory and whether we will learn more about it in the second or third book.
With trigger warnings for abuse, rape, sex trade, and trafficking, this is not a light book. It is a vivid story of loss versus hope and pain versus healing. Highly recommended to older teens and adults.